Monday, February 28, 2005

Mermaid Dresses Make Big Splash at the Oscars!

Huh! Well, since this is my blog, I am entitled to be the ultimate arbiter of style and taste for this year's Oscars--with no need for censorship, as I am always polite. But after sitting through tonight's show in its entirety, nibbling on chips and sipping Diet Pepsi through a straw (well, up until the last four awards, anyway, when I tapped into the inevitable keg o' wine!), I have come to the conclusion that this show was less about the awards than it was about the incredible proliferation of mermaid dresses! Dog bless, Barbie and her Solo in the Spotlight!

For all of the scary advance who-ha about new host Chris Rock and could the censors cut him off in time if his commentary went off-the-rails, he seemed to have a bit of the freshman jitters about him. He began by being appropriately irreverant, with a nice boomeranging of an early Cuba Gooding joke coming right back at himself in the end, but there seemed to be a lot of weird technical glitches happening onstage and off which startled him somewhat (and rightfully so!). At least three times I saw what I assumed were human figures scampering rapidly on and/or offstage again as the program resumed after commercials (and, no, I ain't got no Tivo!). Then there was a crane shot of what appeared to be the middle section of the balcony, but it was entirely empty--where in the world were the "seat-fillers"?? And for some weird reason, before presenting the Oscar for Best Actress, Sean Penn got himself all righteously indignant over an early joke that Rock had made about Jude Law seemingly being in almost every picture for the past several years. I mean really. Earth to Sean: Get a grip! Didn't you hear those jokes twice the first time over the past few months? This has been a common bitch over the past several months, especially after that dog of a remake of Alfie! Penn aside, I think that Mr. Rock deserves a call-back next year.

Oh, well. There were still some real highlights left in the evening. One of my favorites had Al (Dog Day Afternoon) Pacino ("Attica! Attica!") introducing Sidney Lumet, winner of the "Lifetime Achievement Award"--meaning, man, did we screw up by never giving you the Oscar when you really deserved it so many times before (12 Angry Men; Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico; The Verdict; etc...)! Lumet, a still sprightly 80 years young, and never at a loss for ideas (see his innovative A & E series of a few years ago, 100 Centre Street), has a heart whose pulse encompasses New York City...and he's not afraid to show it on his sleeve.

A big controversy emerged earlier this month when it was decided that Latin heartthrobAntonio Banderas and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana would perform one of the nominated songs for Best Song instead of its original performer and writer, Jorge Drexler.

"Al otro lado del rio" (On the Other Side of the River), from "The Motorcycle Diaries" took best original song at the Oscars Sunday night, marking the first time a Spanish song has won the award.

In a classy and unexpected move, Uruguayan singer and songwriter Jorge Drexler eschewed the traditional acceptance speech and instead sang two verses of his song.

"Thank you, gracias, ciao!" he said before leaving the stage.

The move was seen as a symbolic gesture to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which refused to let Drexler perform the song he wrote and sang for the film, opting instead for the high wattage of Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana.

After the ceremony, Drexler told reporters in Spanish that the selection of his song was a sign of "the expansion that the Spanish language is having in the world."

He added, "above all, I think it is due to the magnificent movie that my song in a way represented."

Asked why he chose to sing instead of giving a speech, Drexler responded, "I like to sing, it's what I do, and if you want I'll sing here too," before again breaking into song.

Drexler's most recent album, "Eco," has been a hit in South America, Mexico and Spain. The album will be released in the United States this year, with additional material, including his Oscar-winning song.

And, please! Stop Josh Groban and Beyonce before they do it again!

As the Academy announced earlier this month, pop star Beyonce performed the nominated songs "Look to Your Path" from "Les Choristes," accompanied by the American Boyschoir, and "Learn to Be Lonely" from "The Phantom of the Opera." She also dueted with Josh Groban for the nominated song "Believe" from "The Polar Express."

May we expect better money management next year when it comes to hiring the featured musicians? I mean, no offense, but Josh Groban sucks bigtime and really, how many times and in how many ways can we reasonably expect Beyonce to pursue this endless audition to star in "Dreamgirls"???? (As for Lloyd-Webber, jeez, doesn't he have enough gelt salted away to just fritter himself away at this point??)

Way Big Cheers to:

Jamie Foxx. A class act with a big heart and a huge future ahead of him.
Hilary Swank. A delicate instrument with a will of steel which when honed by a passionate director can bring forth a brilliant fire.
Thelma Schoonmaker. Marty's first, best, and most true collaborator. They see in double vision!

And now, the mermaids!

Hilary Swank (with ultra-low backal dress!)
Renee Zellweger (RED!)
Beyonce (BLACK)
Helen Mirren
Annette Bening
Virginia Madsen
Scarlett Johansson
Regina King
Salma Hayek